Religious places / places of worship get frequented by large number of people for spiritual solace. To prevent spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that required social distancing and other preventive measures are followed in such premises. Here are the outlines and generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken at particular places to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Generic preventive measures
Person above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant woman and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home. Organisations managing the religious institutions to advise accordingly.
Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as feasible.
Use of face covers/masks to be mandatory.
Practice frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.
Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.
Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.
Spitting should be strictly prohibited.
All religious places shall also ensure:
Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.
Only asymptomatic persons shall be allowed in the premises.
All persons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks.
Posters/standees on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently. Audio and Video clips to spread awareness on preventive measures for COVID-19 should be regularly played.
Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible.
Shoes / footwear to be preferably taken off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual / family by the persons themselves.
Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises – duly following social distancing norms shall be organized.
Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors shall be organized
Maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet at all times when queuing up for entry.
Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
Touching of statues/idols / holy books etc. not to be allowed.
Large gatherings/congregation continue to remain prohibited.
In view of potential threat of spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music/songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed.
Avoid physical contact while greeting each other.
No physical offerings, sprinkling of holy water, etc.to be allowed inside the religious place.
Effective sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, hand and foot-washing stations/areas.
Frequent cleaning and disinfection to be maintained by the management of the religious place.
The floors should particularly be cleaned multiple times in the premises.
Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by visitors and/or employees should be ensured.
In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises:
Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.
Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.
A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.
Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.